SIR — With reference to Roger Slade’s letter (Chronicle, January 14) I’m convinced that modern cleaning practices are at the root of failures in hospital hygiene.

Sixty years ago, when I was nursing, the ward sister was directly responsible for the work of all the staff on her ward, including that of the cleaners. If she saw unsatisfactory work, she could order it re-done straight away.

Nowadays, she would have to register a complaint with the cleaner’s supervisor, in an office which might not even be in the hospital.

A complaint would probably take 24 hours or more to be dealt with, instead of within a few minutes’ observation on the part of the sister — plenty of time for infection to take hold.

It’s high time ward sisters were allowed to fulfill their proper function of being directly responsible for all the work of their wards, controlling the highest standards of hygiene personally, on the spot.

Alice Reed, Mead Road, St Cross.